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Health Care & Environment
05.20 Global Study Shows Americans Dying from Preventable Causes at Shocking Rates [“What a country!” —Yakov Smirnoff]
05.20 China claims breakthrough in mining 'flammable ice' [might greater release of methane to our atmosphere become a larger problem?]
05.18 Trump Wants to Cut Energy Dept's Renewables Budget. Big Time. [“Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump.]
05.18 Pesticide that Trump's EPA refused to ban blamed for sickening farm workers [fact-free 'emotional' government can have very high costs. this is a warning to change conduct before its too late.]
05.18 'The pill mill of America': where drugs mean there are no good choices, only less awful ones [governments must unleash research hospitals and pharmeceutical companies to design and manufacture safer and non-addictive recreational drugs to stop illegal drug trade's crime's social, health and prison costs]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
05.21 The small Texas city fighting to remain a ‘safe haven’ for immigrants [morally right & courageous]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
05.20 The Malta Files: How the smallest EU country became a haven for global tax avoidance [why can't we play nice together?]
05.19 America's geography of wealth: the shrinking urban middle class visualised [animated bar chart] [tens of millions of families are living in increasing financial stress–Hillary ignored it and Trump made alt-promises (a.k.a.: lies)]
05.22 Big game hunter is crushed to death when an elephant he was hunting in Zimbabwe is shot and falls on top of him [a fitting death to an elephant killer]
05.21 UK needs more immigrants to 'avoid Brexit catastrophe' [who benefits from bad "conservative" policy?]
05.21 THE LIGHTS ARE GOING OUT IN THE MIDDLE EAST [we suggest enticing a solar panel and battery manufacturers to locate in your countries to diversify economies and create jobs. use solar to empower yourselves...]
05.21 Budget analysis shows some Australian women hit with effective marginal tax rates of 100% ["conservatives" are cruel to the poor and desperate everywhere, to protect themselves from higher taxes]
05.21 Venezuela: 50th day of protests brings central Caracas to a standstill [who does interventions for countries? could the UN help more?]
05.21 Brexit and the coming food crisis: ‘If you can’t feed a country, you haven’t got a country’ [fear-based nationalism will become a costly problem]
05.20 Let’s Skip the War Part—and Go Right to Reparations [powerful writing!]
An Illegal War Degenerates
A few months ago, Abir Al-Janabi was just another 14-year-old Iraqi girl in a small town called Al-Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. Both of her parents are from the Al-Janabi tribe, one of the biggest tribes with Sunni and Shia branches.
Omar Al-Janabi, a neighbor and relative, was informed by Abir's mother that the young girl was being harassed by U.S. soldiers stationed in a nearby checkpoint. That is why Abir was sent to spend the night in her neighbor's home. The next day, Omar Al-Janabi was among the first people who found Abir, with her 34-year-old mother Fakhriyah, her 45-year-old father Qasim, and her 7-year-old sister Hadil, murdered in their home. Abir was raped, killed by a bullet in her head, and then burned on March 12, five months before her fifteenth birthday.
Unlike the case of Haditha, where Iraqi public opinion was furious about the massacre months before it reached to the U.S. mainstream media, the Iraqi press had not even heard of Abir until the U.S. army accidentally found out information about her while investigating another incident. This raises questions about the number of other similar cases that were never investigated and were blamed on non-occupation parties instead.
According to Iraq Body Count, a credible project documenting Iraq's civilian casualties, the occupation armies are directly responsible for killing more than one fourth of civilians in Iraq since the beginning of the war. This makes the assumption that Abir's case is just one of many even more plausible.
The "Hadji Girl" song is yet another indicator that what happened to Abir is most like not an anomalous case. "Hadji Girl" is a videotaped song about killing Iraqis written and performed by U.S. Marine Corporal Joshua Belile while he was at the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. The song became controversial a few weeks ago when the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) discovered it on the internet and objected to its lyrics.
The lyrics, accompanied by loud laughter and applause, include lines as such as "So I grabbed her little sister and pulled her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally. Then I hid behind the TV, and I locked and loaded my M-16, and I blew those little fuckers to eternity. And I said Dirka Dirka Mohammed Jihad, Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah, they should have known they were fucking with a Marine". A two-week investigation held by the U.S. army ended with no punishment for Corporal Belile. Furthermore, according to the spokesperson for the Mike Church Show, Mike Church is planning to record and release "Hadji Girl" and give royalties to Belile. The right-wing presenter will sing and release the song on air this week.
But even if you believe that the case of Abir is a rare exception, it is still a major scandal in Iraq. Issues relating to honor are even more sensitive for the Iraqi public and government than the ongoing daily civilian murders. The first Iraqi governmental reaction came when an Iraqi female member of Parliament asked for an urgent session for which Prime Minister Al-Maliki was called back home to attend. The Iraqi Parliament described the rape as a crime against "the honor of all Iraqis". As a result, Al-Maliki asked for a review of the laws put in place by U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer, giving foreign troops immunity from prosecution in Iraq. This seems to be an Iraqi public demand. Iraqi tribal leaders had a number of meetings across the country last week on the anniversary of "Thawrat Al-Eshrin", the 1920 revolution against the British occupation. The largest meeting was that of the mostly Shia Middle Euphrates Tribes. During this meeting, they threatened to initiate a full-scale revolution against the occupation, similar to what had happened in 1920, unless the U.S. army hands over to them all soldiers accused of raping the "Al-Mahmudiyah Virgin," as she is now known.
What is happening in Iraq is a rape of a nation, not just a rape of a 14-year-old girl, and it has to be stopped as soon as possible.The uproar created in the wake of the death of Abir is but the culmination of over three years of pent-up frustration and rage the Iraqi people feel. It will only end with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. What is happening in Iraq is a rape of a nation, not just a rape of a 14-year-old girl, and it has to be stopped as soon as possible.
Published in the Baltimore Chronicle with the permission of the author.
Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi living in the United States, is the director of the Iraq Project at Global Exchange. Jarrar can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on July 12, 2006.